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If you were watching the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona, you may have seen a red and black, buffalo plaid Porsche out there mixing it up in the GT Daytona (GTD) class.
 
You may have said to yourself, “Now, that’s an interesting livery. Is it one of those historic IMSA liveries?”
 
It wasn’t, but it definitely was unique.
 
And it made total sense, especially when you consider that the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R was fielded by Toronto-based Pfaff Motorsports. And two of the four drivers in the lineup – in fact, the car’s full-time co-drivers for the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – are Canadians Scott Hargrove and Zacharie Robichon. The other two drivers were Porsche test driver Lars Kern, from Germany, and Norwegian driver Dennis Olsen, a Porsche Young Professional.
 
Heck, the car even had sponsorship from a poutine restaurant. The only thing that might have made it more Canadian would have been if it had a giant maple leaf on the side of the car (that was another GTD car – the No. 88 Audi).
 
But Hargrove, Robichon and the Pfaff team are more than just from Canada. They’re champions from Canada and they just kicked off their first full season in the WeatherTech Championship.
 
Robichon is the 2018 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Platinum Cup champion. He dominated the proceedings last year, winning 11 of 12 series races en route to the title aboard the No. 98 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine.
 
And just for good measure, Robichon also raced half of the 2018 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama as a stand-in for the sidelined Will Hardeman in the No. 19 Moorespeed Porsche. He won seven of eight races in that series.
 
Hargrove, meanwhile, won the 2017 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada title with Pfaff Motorsports, turning in a similarly dominant season with 10 wins in 12 races (Robichon won the other two). Last year, Pfaff and Hargrove took their talents to World Challenge, where they won the GT Sprint championship.
 
This year, they’ve moved up to the WeatherTech Championship, and Hargrove couldn’t be happier.
 
“I’m most looking forward to the fan turnout and the atmosphere around the races,” he said. “The TV package and everything that is built around the WeatherTech [Championship] is just a level up from everything I’ve done in the past. I’m really looking forward to that.”
 
Robichon is looking forward to it also. Especially considering that when the program was initially announced during the 2018 Motul Petit Le Mans weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, it was going to be for the new-for-2019 WeatherTech Sprint Cup (GTD) competition encompassing the seven sprint races of two hours, 40 minutes in length or less.
 
“It’s going to be a fantastic year, coming out of the GT3 Cup last year,” Robichon said. “Pfaff has put together a fantastic program. Originally, we were just going to run the sprint series, but a couple of things came together – as they normally do – at the last minute, and to be able to run the whole season is going to be a fantastic opportunity.”
 
And for a team and drivers accustomed to winning championships, they now have a shot at three different ones: the season-long WeatherTech Championship GTD title, the seven-race WeatherTech Sprint Cup and the four-race IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup. But, as Robichon quickly pointed out, “We have our work cut out for us, to say the least.”
 
At last month’s Rolex 24, as will likely be the case everywhere else this season, the GTD field was the largest WeatherTech Championship class. There were 23 cars from eight different manufacturers in the mix.
 
The “Plaid Porsche” was right there, comfortably running inside the top 10 and even in podium position around midnight when it ran third in class. But as can happen in endurance racing, there were issues.
 
Electrical problems wreaked havoc on the car’s headlights and dash lights, bringing about an unscheduled trip to the garage for repairs. That ended the team’s hopes for victory, but they got the car back on track and were aiming for a top-10 result.
 
Sadly, rainy conditions contributed to the car’s early retirement as Robichon collected a spinning Lamborghini and the crash left the No. 9 with insurmountable suspension damage. They wound up 16th in the GTD class.
 
But the good news is, they’ve got 10 more chances to deliver on the promise they showed in the Rolex 24. With their pedigree, this team and these drivers have plenty of promise. After all, look where they came from and what they’ve already achieved.
 
“The Porsche GT3 Cup Canada platform has been really good in that the drivers – especially me and Zach – have actually had a place to go and progress after that,” Hargrove said. “I think it’s just a testament to how much IMSA has really put an emphasis on the series and really made it a premier series in Canada.
 
“With that attracts attention and you get these opportunities that stem from it. That’s been amazing, especially with the support from Porsche. Recently being announced as a Porsche-Selected Driver, I think that’s really due to what was showcased in Porsche GT3 Cup Canada.”
 
And that goes for everybody in the program.
 
“The GT3 Cup platform is a fantastic one to learn,” Robichon said. “A lot of people say it’s one of the hardest cars to drive, and because of that, the skills you learn there are transferable to anything else you’ll drive. I’m hoping that it will transfer well to the GT3 R.
 
“Scott won the championship in 2017 and then I won it last year. The progression that a lot of the people that have won in that series, they go on to be successful everywhere they race. We know that the competition is good there. If you can win there, you can really take those skills and apply them.
 
“Just look at Daniel Morad as well in 2016. [Morad won the 2016 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada title and went on to win the 2017 Rolex 24 in the GTD class. He raced the No. 29 Montaplast by Land Audi in this year’s race.] The last three champions were all racing this year at Daytona and that’s not random. That’s for a reason.”

After a satisfying 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season filled with career-bests, Codie Rohrbaugh and his Grant County Mulch Racing (CGMR) team head to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for Saturday afternoon’s season-opener hoping to keep their momentum rolling.

“I’m glad to be back for another season of ARCA competition,” said Rohrbaugh who earned a career-best seventh place finish last July at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

“We’ll be splitting time this year between ARCA and (NASCAR) Trucks – but our goal in ARCA remains the same to come to the track prepared to win. Hopefully, we can make that happen on Saturday.”

While Rohrbaugh and his family-owned team have showcased the speed in their restrictor plate program over the last two years, the Petersburg, West Virginia native hasn’t been able to showcase a finish to complement their performance.

Rohrbaugh, a former competitor in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East hopes to change the tune in the Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire.

“Our team has busted their tails to bring competitive superspeedway cars to the race track and really we don’t have much to show for it,” Rohrbaugh explained.

“From being at the wrong place at the wrong time or just other bad luck, we’ve been plagued. Whether it’s been Daytona or Talladega, we just can’t catch a break.

“Our finishes aren’t an indicator of our performance – but we keep going back to the plate races because we know one of these times our luck is going to change, and we’ll have something to boast about.”

Despite the finishing results, the 25-year-old says the drafting experience he has crafted has proven to be beneficial as his racing resume expands. On February 15, Rohrbaugh will attempt to qualify for the Truck Series race at Daytona and hopes to showcase his ability on another platform.

“We’ll get two chances this year,” Rohrbaugh chuckled. “Seriously, we have a lot of fun (restrictor) plate racing – but it can be nerve-racking and stressful at the same time. You just never know how it will pan out. For me though, I try to not let the “what ifs” bother me. I just climb in the car and get after it.

“Daytona is one of those places you dream of winning at. The place is that special. It’s a privilege to race there and it would mean a lot for me and my family to get my first ARCA win at Daytona. It's happened to others before, why can't it happen to us?

“We’ll try on Saturday and if we don’t. That’s OK. We’ll pick up the pieces and try again on Friday (Feb. 15).”

Rohrbaugh and his team led by veteran crew chief Mark Huff participated in a two-day test session at the “World Center of Racing” and while they were 15th quickest overall, the veteran driver said their speed wasn’t good enough.

“Our car was good – but you always want it to be better,” he said. “We spent a lot of time on the track by ourselves. I know it doesn’t mean much because you qualify in the draft, but we knew if we could get our No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet better by itself – it would be stronger in the draft.

“We’ve been thrashing over the past three weeks, but I think we’re in a good spot.” In 18 career ARCA starts, Rohrbaugh has a best finish of seventh at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (July 2018). He has qualified a career-best fourth on four different occasions including his most recent ARCA race at Kansas Speedway (Oct. 2018).

Marketing partnership(s) opportunities are available for the No. 7 Grant County Mulch Chevrolet and No. 9 Grant County Mulch Ford for the 2019 ARCA Racing Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series seasons and beyond. Interested inquiries are encouraged to contact at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 304.257.8783.

The Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire (80 laps | 200 miles) is the first of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Thurs., Feb. 7 with a two-hour session from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. A final practice session has been etched in on Fri., Feb. 8 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 3:30 p.m. The season-opener for the 67th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag on Sat., Feb. 9 shortly after 4:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities.

Codie Rohrbaugh PR

Bill McAnally Racing’s (BMR) trio of drivers are headed to Florida for NASCAR Speedweeks as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East kicks off its 2019 season at New Smyrna Speedway on Sunday.

Derek Kraus, driving the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, begins his third year with BMR in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series; Hailie Deegan will be in her second season with BMR in the series, driving the No. 19 Monster/NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry; and Brittney Zamora will be making her series debut in BMR’s No. 99 ENEOS/NAPA Filters Toyota Camry.

All three BMR drivers are set to run the full schedule in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West this year, while racing in select K&N East events.

Sunday’s 175-lap race is part of the 53rd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway. BMR has competed in all five previous K&N East races at the high-banked, half-mile track since 2014. In addition to winning the event in 2016, with Todd Gilliland behind the wheel, BMR has accounted for four top-five finishes and seven top-10 finishes

In two starts at the Florida track, Kraus finished third in 2017 and fourth in 2018. Deegan made her K&N Pro Series debut in last year’s event, but was sidelined with mechanical trouble.

Kraus is a 17-year-old from Stratford, Wisconsin. He captured the K&N West rookie title in 2017. Last year, he topped the series with the most wins, most poles, and most laps led.

Deegan, also 17, is from Temecula, California. She is coming off a history-making season in which she became the first female driver to win a race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and the first woman to win a pole award in the series – along with being the first woman to win the rookie title in the series.

Kraus and Deegan are both members of the NASCAR Next program that spotlights NASCAR’s emerging stars.

Zamora is a 19-year-old, second-generation driver from Kennewick, Washington. She has raced in super late models the past three seasons and was honored last year with NASCAR’s 2018 Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award.

Deegan and Zamora are Toyota Racing development drivers.

In advance of Sunday’s event, the BMR team will participate in a storefront show at the NAPA AUTO PARTS Store in DeLand from 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday. New store owner Chris Wall, with Wall Automotive Group, extended an invitation to the team to make the visit.

BMR’s No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry will be on display, tours of the BMR NASCAR transporter will be provided, and BMR drivers are slated to make a store appearance.

In addition, a group of NAPA guests from the DeLand store – as well as Wall’s NAPA Stores in Daytona Beach and Deltona – are scheduled to attend the New Smyrna race. A VIP Experience is planned for the group.

BMR PR

A familiar face and increasingly popular figure on tour for the last few years, Christian Eckes finally gets his shot to compete for an ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Championship starting with Saturday’s season opening event at Daytona International Speedway. 

Eckes, 18, a three-time series winner, will pilot Venturini Motorsports’ (VMS) No.15 JBL Audio Toyota with crew chief Kevin Reed at the controls. A native of Middletown, NY and a member of the Toyota Racing Development’s (TRD) family, Eckes is ready to get his 2019 campaign underway. 

“I’ve never been more excited and more ready to start a season,” says Eckes.

“There’s a lot of preparation that goes into offseason training. No matter if you’re running for a championship or not, the sacrifice you put in during the off-season will pay dividends once the season starts. I pride myself on my preparation and my will to succeed - I can assure you there was no shortage of that this year. I’ve kept extremely busy training, logging simulation seat time and straight pen/ paper. I feel as though I’m as ready as ever. 

“Obviously our goal going into this season is the championship. But to get there we need to be smart and take it one step at a time, one track at a time. Every race is different. My only focus is doing the best of my ability each and every week I hit the track. 

“Daytona is a special place. It means a lot to have the privilege to race at such a historic track, but like I’ve said before, it’s just another race opportunity to me. I’ve grown up watching my heros racing at Daytona. It’s the biggest race of the year. But all-in-all I’m just ready to get to any race track at this point. Our JBL 15 team has something to prove this year, and we’re ready to take advantage of every opportunity given to us.”

Since signing with VMS in 2016, Eckes has made 27 career ARCA starts over the last three seasons. Achieving notable success, the former Snowball Derby winner had a breakout season in ’18, earning his first career ARCA win at Salem Speedway in April before going on to notch two more victories at Springfield’s dirt mile and at Lucas Oil Raceway. Earning two General Tire Pole Awards along the way, Eckes led 421-laps in just 13 starts last season.

The first official track activity of the season will come on Thursday, February 7 when the teams receive two hours of practice starting at 4 pm ET. There will be another hour of practice on Friday, February 8 starting at 9:30 am ET followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 3:30 pm ET. 

This year’s highly anticipated season opener will begin at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday February 9. The race will be aired live on FOX SPORTS 1 beginning with pre-race coverage starting at 4:30 pm ET.

VMS PR

The Firestone brand will remain the exclusive tire to the NTT IndyCar Series and the Official Tire for the NTT IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 through 2025, following a five-year partnership extension announced by INDYCAR and Bridgestone Americas, Inc.

Additionally, Bridgestone announced plans to build a new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Akron, Ohio, that will serve as the future home of Firestone race tire manufacturing. The Bridgestone Advanced Tire Production Center (ATPC) will be located across the street from the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center and less than a mile from the Bridgestone Advanced Technology Workshop, where race tires are currently produced. Plans for the ATPC include both new construction and the full renovation of an existing structure.

The histories of Indy car racing and Firestone tires parallel each other. Ray Harroun won the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911 on Firestone tires. Firestone's 69 wins at "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing," including the most recent by Will Power in 2018, are more than twice as many as all other tire manufacturers combined.

"Champions have relied on Firestone tires for more than a century, and racing has always been the ideal proving ground for new technologies that help us evolve and advance our company's passenger tire offerings," said Philip Dobbs, chief marketing officer, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. "As the NTT IndyCar Series continues gaining momentum, we are introducing new fans to the Firestone brand and strengthening our relationship with the drivers who use our durable, dependable Firestone tires."

Firestone has more than eight decades of Indy car racing experience and the brand is entering its 20th consecutive season as sole tire supplier to the NTT IndyCar Series. It will produce and deliver more than 26,000 Firehawk race tires to teams this season, including more than 6,000 tires for track activities related to the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

The partnership extension was announced at a special event held in Speedway, Indiana, at the American headquarters for Dallara, producer of the chassis used by all NTT IndyCar Series teams. The ceremony included INDYCAR and Bridgestone leaders, racing legend Mario Andretti and veteran INDYCAR driver and team owner Ed Carpenter. A second event also was held at the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center in Akron with two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser Jr.

"Firestone has long been a great INDYCAR partner and is making a huge investment to the NTT IndyCar Series with its new facility in Akron," INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. "This extension also reflects Firestone's commitment to helping to shape INDYCAR's paddock-wide, five-year plan."

The new ATPC will continue a legacy of tire manufacturing in Akron that began with the founding of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company in 1900. A team of expert tire builders and manufacturing professionals at the Advanced Technology Workshop keeps that tradition alive through the production of more than 60 unique race tire specifications for the NTT IndyCar Series season. All race tire manufacturing will move to the new facility over the next four years, and early plans are for the site to produce its first Firestone Firehawk race tires for testing in the NTT IndyCar Series by the end of 2020.

"I started driving on Firestone tires 55 years ago, and they were on my car for the 1969 Indianapolis 500 when I took the checkered flag," Andretti said. "The trust I have always placed in Firestone was cemented that day 50 years ago when I drove on the same right rear tire for the whole race - and it never let me down. Firestone has always been a dependable partner, and I am excited to see its partnership with INDYCAR continue into the future."

In addition to providing tire technology and on-track support, Firestone will continue to be a key partner in the marketing and promotion of the NTT IndyCar Series. The brand's comprehensive, season-long activation includes fan engagement, sponsorships and signage at multiple venues. Firestone is title sponsor of two events on the 2019 schedule, the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 10 and season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sept. 22.

IndyCar PR

Following Hailie Deegan’s historic 2018 rookie season in which she became the first female race and pole winner in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, the 17-year-old Temecula, California-native is set to return to Bill McAnally Racing (BMR) for 2019.

Deegan, a Toyota Racing development driver and NASCAR Next alumna, will pilot the No. 19 Monster Energy / NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West as well as select East races. Deegan finished fifth in the NASCAR K&N West championship standings last season – earning one win, two poles, five top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 14 starts. She was recently named to Forbes’ list of “Women in Sports to Watch In 2019.”

“It was special to be part of Hailie’s historic season last year as she broke so many barriers in racing and set so many records in NASCAR,” said BMR President Bill McAnally. “We look to help her build on that success this year and become the first woman to win the series championship.”

Deegan has her eyes set on a championship in 2019 and is ready to build off a successful rookie campaign where she also became the first woman to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.

“We accomplished a lot in 2018 but we’re just scratching the surface of where we need to be,” said Deegan. “My goal this year is to win a championship and our team here at BMR is ready and capable of accomplishing that.”

“Having Monster Energy partner with NAPA Power Premium Plus on Hailie’s Toyota Camry is a big deal for this race team,” said McAnally. “This brand is heavily involved in NASCAR and provides excellent visibility for us and Hailie.”

The 2019 BMR NASCAR K&N Pro Series West lineup consists of Deegan, fellow Toyota Racing development driver Brittney Zamora, and third-year driver Derek Kraus, also part of the most recent NASCAR Next class. Each driver will compete in select NASCAR K&N Pro Series East events in 2019.

BMR has won a record eight series championships, as well as capturing 90 overall victories between the East and West divisions of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.

BMR PR

Speedweeks 2019 will be insanely busy for Gus Dean (@gusdean) and he doesn’t mind one bit.

Dean, the Bluffton, S.C.-native will not only compete in Saturday afternoon’s ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season-opener but also race in a slew of Super Late Model races at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway and cap off his Speedweeks by making his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) debut at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on February 15 for Young’s Motorsports.

Getting to Victory Lane will be no easy chore for the 24-year-old Dean, but the Win-Tron Racing driver has set his sights on conquering Daytona’s 2.5-mile speedway start to finish this weekend.

“I can’t wait to get to Florida,” said Dean who will pilot the No. 32 CAB Installers | Baker Distributing Co. Chevrolet in his 48th career ARCA start.

“This year will be the busiest I’ve ever been for Speedweeks, but I genuinely feel like I have a good opportunity to contend for the win in not only my ARCA car but my Super Late Model and next Friday night in my Truck debut.”

With his fourth ARCA start at the “World Center of Racing” on deck, Dean is hoping his experience will pay off in the 80-lap race, but most of all, he is hoping to see the checkered flag.

In his three previous outings at the 2.5-mile speedway, Dean has often found himself at the front of the field but collected in multi-car accidents. Last year, the South Carolinian was fifth coming to the initial white flag lap, but chaos erupted on the backstretch with Dean involved and knocked out of contention.

This year, Dean is hoping his luck has changed.

“I feel like I still have something to prove at Daytona,” Dean added. “I’ve had some very fast cars, but we’ve always ended up in the garage before its all said and done. I hope I’ve paid my dues and I can see the checkered flag and hopefully get the opportunity to hoist the trophy.”

Dean and crew chief Jamie Jones participated in the two-day open ARCA test at Daytona in January and left the track extremely confident in their race car.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Jamie, Kevin (Cywinski, team owner) and all the guys on this Win-Tron Racing team,” sounded Dean. “This was our Talladega car from last year and Jamie kept tweaking on it during the off-season and it was a rocket ship during the test.

“It had a lot of speed in single-car runs and was sporty in the draft. Saturday’s race is going to come down to luck. I feel like I’ll be one of the most experienced drivers in the race and hope that knowledge will be beneficial for me. I don’t know what our plan of attack will be for the race.

“We’ll see where we qualify and go from there.”

Longtime Dean supporter CAB Installers will serve as the primary marketing partner for Saturday’s ARCA race, while Baker Distributing returns to Daytona with Dean in an associate role.

Dean’s No. 32 Chevrolet will also sport the logo of LG Air Conditioning Technologies, his new partner in his full-season Truck Series effort at Young’s Motorsports.

“I feel very fortunate to have so much support for Daytona and the season,” offered Dean. “In a time where sponsorship is still tough in Motorsports, I feel blessed and grateful to have our car covered. The last time we had CAB Installers on our race car – we ended up in Victory Lane at Talladega in 2016, maybe we can pull off that magic again on Saturday.”

Win-Tron Racing car owner Kevin Cywinski says the team had the opportunity to field a second car for Dean this weekend – but chose to focus solely on Dean’s No. 32 CAB Installers | Baker Distributing Co. Chevrolet in hopes of propelling Dean to his third career ARCA victory.

“We’re pretty pumped about the piece we’re bringing for Gus this weekend,” said Cywinski. “It’s a good car and we’ve worked hard and tirelessly to make sure it’s a car we feel like Gus can win with.

“Even though Gus isn’t running a full season in ARCA this year, we really want to make sure any opportunities he gets to race – he feels like he has the opportunity to go out there and win. We feel like we can accomplish that on Saturday.”

Dean will carry the General Tire onboard camera for Saturday afternoon’s race – providing an exclusive view of the action from inside his automobile.

For more on Gus Dean, please visit his all new website at GusDean.com or like him on Facebook. Dean tweets too. Follow him on Twitter @GusDean.

Learn more at Win-TronRacing.com, Facebook or on Twitter @WinTronRacing.

The Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire (80 laps | 200 miles) is the first of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Thurs., Feb. 7 with a two-hour session from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. A final practice session has been etched in on Fri., Feb. 8 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 3:30 p.m. The season-opener for the 67th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag on Sat., Feb. 9 shortly after 4:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities.

Win Tron Racing PR

Empire Racing Group announced today that veteran John Ferrier will complete the organization’s three-car lineup for the Feb. 9 ARCA Racing Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

Ferrier’s No. 44 Chevrolet will carry sponsorship from Steve Green, an advocate and advisor for stem cell transplants. The car will promote the “877-4STEMCELL” number to encourage those interested in the benefits of stem cell transplants to obtain more information.

Green has worked with stem cell clinics abroad since he received a stem cell transplant to address pancreas and liver problems in 2007. The late U.S. Representative Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) first introduced Green to stem cell clinics in the Ukraine.

Green met Ferrier during last month’s ARCA testing session at Daytona and when he learned Ferrier was still seeking sponsorship for the race, Green decided to utilize the car and race as a way to promote awareness of stem cell benefits.

“There are so many issues that can be addressed with stem cells – autism, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, Parkinson’s for example,” Green said. “Stem cells can help all aspects of your health.

“I want people know to about this option and create awareness of all the possible benefits that stem cells can provide. We can change people’s lives.” It’s about quality of life!

Green, of Canton, Ohio, is a well-known entrepreneur, inventor, storm chaser and race car driver. With the help of his own stem cell transplant, he’s even contemplating returning to race himself, He currently coaches the Kiev Stallions, an American Football Professional Team in Ukraine. I’m having fun with a great group of people, Green says.

For now, though, he’ll settle to see Ferrier’s No. 44 877-4STEMCELL Chevrolet run up front in Saturday’s season opener.

“This is really just about getting the phone ringing and getting people who can benefit from stem cells to the right clinic,” he said. “I just want to see they get the help they need.”

Ferrier, 53, will be making his fourth consecutive start in the ARCA Racing Series season opener and sixth total. He has made 12 previous series starts with a career-best finish of seventh in 2013 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

“Stem cell research is the medicine of the future and I’m honored Steve would like to use our Empire Racing Chevrolet as a way to share awareness of this very important issue,” Ferrier said. “Even though some of the options may be limited in this country, people can still go to places like Ukraine for treatment and they are getting a lot of fantastic results.”

Ferrier has cut his racing teeth on dirt tracks, in particular running big block modifieds at Orange County Fair Speedway in his hometown of Middletown, N.Y. But he enjoys the opportunity to race stock cars and feels the best opportunity for success comes at Daytona and Talladega.

“Honestly, the reason is why I keep coming back is because at these races the playing field is very level. Everybody is on the same playing field and the chances at winning that race and doing very well is much greater than going to a Michigan or a Pocono or any of the other tracks,” he said.

Ferrier was in excellent position in last year’s Daytona race for a strong finish, which he also ran with Empire Racing. The scheduled 80-lap race ended up going into three overtimes with Ferrier running out of fuel in the final overtime but still managed a 15th-place finish.

“I don’t usually give myself credit as a driver, but when I got out of the car last year I felt I had just driven one of the best races that I ever did and I wasn’t disappointed at all,” he said. “I did just about everything that I was supposed to do – I drafted well, I side-drafted well, I stayed out of trouble. It was just very frustrating with how the race ended.”

ARCA Racing Series veteran Sean Corr and Thad Moffitt, grandson of seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion and owner Richard Petty complete Empire Racing Group’s Daytona lineup.

The Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire (80 laps | 200 miles) is the first of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Thurs., Feb. 7 with a two-hour session from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. A final practice session has been etched in on Fri., Feb. 8 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 3:30 p.m. The season-opener for the 67th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag on Sat., Feb. 9 shortly after 4:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities.

Empire Racing PR

On an opening night that featured a whopping 91 DIRTcar UMP Modifieds from 21 different states and three Canadian provinces on the property at Volusia Speedway Park, 37-year-old driver, Fowler, IL driver Michael Long overtook three-time defending DIRTcar Nationals Champion Nick Hoffman with eight laps to go, pulling away from Hoffman and the rest of the field to score his first career DIRTcar Nationals Feature victory.

“When you’re racing with these guys, you better be on top of your game. That’s for sure,” stated the driver of the #18l Discount Tire & Service / Rage Chassis machine in Victory Lane. “When we came down here before, we didn’t have enough motor to compete with these guys. Now, we do with Xtreme Pro Racing Engines, and it showed tonight. This gives us a good start towards the Gator Championship. We’ve just got to keep this momentum going," he added.

Lucas Lee and former NASCAR competitor David Reutimann led a stacked 28-car field to Chief Starter David Farney’s green flag to start the first feature of the 48th annual DIRTcar Nationals. Reutimann led the first six laps before Hoffman overpowered him on the seventh lap. Along with him came Long, who started sixth, and the battle was on for the race lead. As Hoffman and Long continued to battle, Long searched for a way around the all-time career wins leader in the division at Volusia during the DIRTcar Nationals.

Finally, with eight laps to go, Long, a former track champion at Tri-City Speedway (IL), made the winning move around Hoffman for the lead and pulled away from him to garner his first career feature win in the DIRTcar Nationals. With the victory, Long becomes the 47th different feature winner all-time in DIRTcar Nationals history within the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds division out of 112 all-time features conducted.

Hoffman settled for second over NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie contender Justin Haley, who completed the podium finishers. Tyler Nicely was fourth as Reutimann completed the top five. Tyler Evans finished sixth after starting 13th, while Trey Harris was seventh after starting in 12th. Allen Weisser came from 19th to finish eighth, while Last Chance Showdown winner Curt Spalding, in his Volusia & DIRTcar Nationals debut, finished ninth after starting deep in the field in 25th. Michael Altobelli Jr. finished off the top 10.

David Stremme out-timed the massive 91-car field with a 17.773 in Qualifying. Reutimann, Zeke McKenzie, Lee, Long, Jason Beaulieu, Haley, Altobelli Jr., and Stremme all won Heat Races. Spading, Ray Bollinger, Will Krup and Austin Holcombe all collected Last Chance Showdown triumphs as well.

Night Two for the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds will see the teams return for another $1,000 payday on Wednesday, February 6. The Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars will be on hand for their first of two nights of action before the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars race for three nights in a row starting on Friday, February 8.

For more information about the 48th annual DIRTcar Nationals and to order tickets, please call: 844-DIRT-TIX or visit dirtcarnationals.com You can also follow the DIRTcar UMP Modifieds portions of the DIRTcar Nationals throughout race week by visiting the DIRTcar Racing Social Media outlets. Just search for “DIRTcar Racing” on both Facebook and Twitter for the very latest updates from Volusia Speedway Park and the 48th annual DIRTcar Nationals.

DIRTcar Racing PR

Just hours after NASCAR RACE HUB debuted FOX NASCAR’s brand-new, state-of-the-art, multi-purpose virtual studio in Charlotte (Monday-Thursday at 6:00 PM ET on FS1), FOX Sports finalizes the lineup for its shows emanating from the innovative set with two new faces.

The latest additions to the FOX NASCAR roster are veteran TV hosts Lindsay Czarniak and Sara Walsh, who come aboard as studio hosts for NASCAR RACE HUB: WEEKEND EDITION and Thursday NASCAR RACE HUB shows. Czarniak and Walsh, who split weekend hosting duties for FOX NASCAR, have forged similar career paths on their journey to FOX Sports.

Czarniak’s on-air resume includes anchoring “NASCAR Now,” “SportsCenter” and a myriad of other roles while at ESPN. She also served as a pit reporter for NBC Sports’ NASCAR coverage, in addition to her roles as a prerace host and pit reporter for Turner Sports’ NASCAR coverage.

Walsh, a four-time Emmy winner, joined the FOX Sports family for the 2018 NFL season, reporting from the sidelines for several games. She previously spent seven years as a “SportsCenter” anchor, in addition to her time hosting a variety of other sports programs.

 

PRERACE BROADCASTERS:

Multi-sport broadcaster Shannon Spake continues to expand her on-air resume by hosting FOX NASCAR’s coverage of all MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES and NASCAR XFINITY SERIES races. She also anchors NASCAR RACEDAY, FOX Sports’ prerace show for the Cup Series, and NASCAR RACEDAY-XFINITY, its prerace show for the Xfinity Series.

Joining Spake in the Charlotte virtual studio for the aforementioned programming are FOX NASCAR analysts Larry McReynolds, Jamie McMurray, Ricky Craven, Bobby Labonte, and on occasion, Michael Waltrip and Regan Smith. The group’s insight is integrated into FOX Sports’ live-race coverage from the track, with the on-site FOX NASCAR broadcast booth regularly tossing to McReynolds for in-race, instant 3D analysis of action and storylines unfolding during an event.

Meanwhile, Kaitlyn Vincie steps up with a move from pit road to the prerace anchor chair, hosting NASCAR RACEDAY-NGOTS prior to each NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES race, alongside Jeff Hammond and two-time series champion Todd Bodine.

 

NASCAR RACE HUB

Spake pairs with longtime FOX Sports co-host Adam Alexander to anchor the 11th season of NASCAR RACE HUB (Monday-Thursdays at 6:00 PM ET on FS1), the sport’s most-watched daily show. The 2019 season debut airs Monday, Feb. 4, at 6:00 PM ET on FS1. Offering analysis on the hour-long program are McMurray, McReynolds, Michael Waltrip, Jeff Gordon, Smith and Labonte.

NASCAR RACE HUB features a rotating cast of active drivers and crew chiefs that includes: 2018 NASCAR champion Joey Logano; 2014 champion Kevin Harvick; 2012 champion Brad Keselowski; seven-time champion crew chief Chad Knaus; Austin Dillon; Drew Blickensderfer; David Ragan; and Blake Koch. Craven and championship-winning crew chief Cole Pearn join the Hub stable this season.

Longtime Hub reporters Alan Cavanna and Vincie return with daily reports from NASCAR race shops. NASCAR RACE HUB debuted on FOX Sports’ SPEED in October 2009 and celebrated its 1,500th episode last May. Additionally, veteran motor sports journalist Bob Pockrass joins FOX NASCAR in 2019 as an insider.

NASCAR RACE HUB WEEKEND EDITION, hosted by Czarniak and Walsh, continues as a Friday and Saturday fixture on FS1, delivering at-track updates and news as it breaks throughout the course of the race weekend.

FOX Sports PR

INDYCAR has bolstered the commercial side of its business with the addition of two veteran industry executives.

SJ Luedtke, a Nike sports marketing executive for the past decade, has been hired as INDYCAR's Vice President, Marketing. She will be responsible for advancing INDYCAR's brand across all channels, managing event and experiential assets, accelerating fan growth and engagement, and working with media partners to drive consumption and ratings.

Luedtke joined Nike in 2010, rising to senior brand director of football. She developed and led integrated campaigns, including "Make 'Em Miss" and "Who You With" while partnering with leadership to extend the 30th anniversary of the "Just Do It" campaign. She oversaw key athlete brands such as Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Russell Wilson and Saquon Barkley.

Prior to working at Nike, Luedtke spent 14 years working in multiple areas of motorsports marketing, including leading client services at Team Green and Andretti Green Racing and heading up Goodyear's agency team leveraging strategic partnerships across NASCAR, NHRA and off-road racing.

Mike Zizzo has been retained by INDYCAR as a communications consultant. Zizzo is an award-winning public relations executive with more than 22 years of experience in the motorsports industry, including managerial roles with two of North America's premier racing sanctioning bodies.

Zizzo served as Vice President of Competition Public Relations for Championship Auto Racing Teams from 1996-2002 before joining NASCAR as the Senior Public Relations Manager with emphasis on competition from 2002-2005. He arrives to INDYCAR from Texas Motor Speedway, where he spent the past 13 years as the Vice President of Communications and was a two-time recipient of NASCAR's Speedway Public Relations Representative of the Year Award.

"The depth of knowledge and experience that SJ and Mike possess in their respective fields will strengthen our organization," INDYCAR President Jay Frye said. "They both hold a passion for INDYCAR and are widely respected within our industry. They will immediately begin to actively engage with the sport's numerous stakeholders to contribute to the continued growth and success of the NTT IndyCar Series."

IndyCar PR

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